Event The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

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The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)



The Crypt of Amadeus Levante

Vhalar 2, 718


Did anyone ever really want to wake up from a long night’s rest? There was always the nagging comfort of the bed underneath oneself, the gentle flicker of sunlight as it began to caress the world with its warm embrace, and, for some, even the scampering of familiar animals nearby. All of these combined tended to arrest a person’s desire to actually awaken, and push them back towards whatever sleepy conundrums they had imagined in their dreams.

Of course, none of those few who rested now would find such creature comforts to be present. Even as the first few of them began to hazily unshutter their eyes, they would discover that the room they were currently in was poorly lit, uncomfortably quiet, and notably rather chilly. What had no doubt been their bed when they had laid down had been replaced with little more than a slight indentation within a stony brick floor.

Perhaps the most notable thing to speed the worried awakening of those gathered, however, was the sudden appearance of a young woman who rather abruptly shouted:
“Get up, you lazy bums!”

She seemed to be rather amused by her choice of words, and a brief giggle broke the tension between the group before fading back into the uncomfortable silence of before. As those gathered awoke, they would become aware that there were still others locked away within the same dark room as themselves, at least five persons who had not been present before they had laid down to rest. Each of them was gradually pulling themselves from their sleepy stupor in the same fashion, undeniably having suffered a similar fate. The only person who seemed to be somewhat out of place was the young redheaded woman whose unkempt hair was contrasted at least slightly by her otherwise rather clean clothing. Ripped and torn, yes, but clean regardless, as though untouched by the dust and detritus of the location.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re all here instead of back at home!” She began, beginning to pace across the length of the room, turning upon her heel when she reached one end and repeating the process without stop. “Well, you see, I’ve gathered you all together, because you’re the best of the best, the finest of the fine.” A barely suppressed giggle flickered across her features. “You’re all aware that there are plenty of old ruins around here, and one of them in particular has something that I really really really really want!” She frowned innocently, like a saddened child and gave a nod to each of the six.

“It’s an orb, about this big.” She brought her hands together to showcase the approximate size of the desired implement. “If you can bring it to me, I’ll reward you handsomely.” She smiled once more, losing a touch of her mania for a few moments, seemingly composed despite her previous behavior. A hand like lightning flicked behind herself, and a moment later, a trio of glowing vials were produced, each with a different color and radiance. “I even brought these along to help you with navigating the ruins.” She offered no indication whatsoever on whether or not they were meant to drink them or throw them at anything, or even what they did, but they were handed out to Mads, Quiet, and Bartholomew respectively, and seemingly entirely out of random chance.

“I should hope that’s all you need to get you going. Basic objective, check. Some equipment, check…” She nodded towards Quiet’s quarterstaff and Bartholomew’s mace which most certainly had not been present approximately twelve trills ago. “Oh! Right! The Crypt of Amadeus Levante – that’s where we are- is renowned for its traps, so maybe watch where you s-“ She giggled. “-Step.”

Perhaps were she a kinder Immortal, or even somewhat less utterly manic in her movements, she might have allowed them to question her on the nature of why she needed the orb, or why she had chosen them, or any other number of curious questions. Yet, the Immortal of Ruin and Insanity was a capricious entity, and the very moment that she had finished her sentence, she strode wholeheartedly out into the corridor, vanishing from view into the darkness beyond.

“Have fun! Call me if you need me!” Echoed down the hallway before the gentle whistle of a Vvvworp noise sounded, and the silence resumed. The trio of persons who had found themselves locked away into the confines of the Crypt alongside those with weapons and vials promptly began to attach themselves to whomever they found fit their general disposition more, mentioning that they didn’t remember ever coming here, and that they had lain down for a gentle night’s rest only to discover themselves here. They were frightened, seeking guidance, uncertain of all that had transpired, and they looked to those with the vials for leadership, asserting that they were clearly the most qualified.

The room itself was remarkably bare except for the presence of a loose pile of moldy and aged bricks, and the hint of a tendril of Creep bearing down along the ceiling. Beyond the single doorway lay a hallway shrouded in shadow in darkness, though a set of candles had been cast just within visible sight for the group of adventurers. There were approximately twelve candles – two for each person present. The hallway itself stretched onwards in two opposite directions, each covered in shadow, the distant sound of conversation heard towards the Western Hall, and the familiar whispering noise of something inorganic towards the Eastern Hall.

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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

S
tillness escaped him.

It was the lack of true quiet that roused him, though the uncomfortable, entirely foreign stiffness in his neck and back helped to further draw him out of the blissfully empty throes of Emea and back into strange, cold, hard Idalos reality. From the moment he opened his eyes, however, he found it difficult to believe he was, in fact, still asleep. The room was clearly not his own - evident by both the shadowy halls at either end and the various other bodies splayed about the floors. Before he could do more than open his eyes and glance blearily around, the woman's voice resounded off of the cool stone walls, far too harsh and brash and bright for what should have been the peaceful calm of a slumber finally stayed.

Not one of the bodies proved to be a corpse as each was roused. They all had their own reactions to the fiery-headed intruder - or hostess? – but rather than wasting time on fear or uncertainty, Mads chose to use the woman’s peculiar explanation as the time to both gather his bearings and examine his surroundings. Multi-tasking was something of a habit of his, and he didn’t find it too difficult to both pay attention to the strange little woman’s words while gazing at the assorted assembled faces around him.

The Old Uncle was the first he recognized, followed by the dark-skinned Quiet. The other three were unfamiliar. Though she claimed they were the “best of the best”, there was no sign of Graciana who was, without a doubt, superior to him in nearly every regard. The Old Uncle too was hardly what one would consider the crème of the crop. The three other men might as well have been faceless for all he knew of them and their – if both he and the uncle were anything to compare to - unimpressive exploits.

Then there was Quiet who was a foreigner. That he was even included at all didn’t bode well for the woman’s honesty.

Children had never really been too much of a problem for him. Adults that acted like children, however, were much more difficult. He never knew when to expect them to act their age or when it was more likely they would succumb to a temporary – often elongated – regression. Childlike though she was, the red-headed woman didn’t seem to be a child but neither did her childishness strike him entirely as self-delusion.

Rather… pure delusion itself.

Having never been much of a reward-oriented individual, Mads glanced around the room at the assorted expressions when one was mentioned. Out of all of them, one of the strangers seemed just as uninterested – terrified and uncertain and weak. His pale green eyes were wide, filled with apprehensive fear that was gesturally painted across his sharp, angular features like a toddler applying a thick coat of gesso to an empty canvas. It didn’t even appear as though the dark-haired, shimmery eyed young mad had heard a word the little crimson creature had said.

Perfect.

He received his vial with a blank face, his attention drawn from the nervous man back to the woman, the faint prick of surprise just fading as he sniffed the cool morning air for any scent of ether. There was none, and yet he was certain the woman had not been holding anything earlier – nor had there been any indication that the vials had been stowed away anywhere upon her person. He began to open his mouth, a question about to slip both easy and calm from his lips when again items seemed to materialize out of thin air.

Rather than allow his focus to linger on the staff and mace, he settled his now bright and inquisitive gaze upon the little woman, the fiery creature, the peculiar oddity. At last, she gave them a location – the burial site of a name that was vaguely familiar, but not one well known to him; she then made for her escape.

“Wait a moment, madam, if you will!” He started after her but found that though his stride should have been about one and a quarter extra of her own, he couldn’t catch up as she continued to fade into the darkness, calling back as though she truly did have some sort of passing intention to follow through upon any summons – though without her name he had little idea how he’d go about it short of “Hey you, red-headed looney.” which undoubtedly would have turned the Madam Graciana Moreno a deep shade of scarlet and earned him a very lengthy lecture as to how he was expected to conduct himself in the presence of others.

So he was left with the remaining five, the warning of traps keeping him just within the boundaries of the room, the dimly glowing vial casting a purplish hue that did little to penetrate the dusty shadows beyond him.

“E-excuse me?” The nervous man spoke next, voice a bit high, the waver in his tone poorly hidden beneath his struggling attempt at normalcy. “Does that mean we’re… we’re outside the walls?”

“It does.” Pivoting on his heel, Mads turned to address him – all of them – with a polite, shallow bow. Though he was well aware Quiet did not speak Vahanic, he didn’t bother clumsily repeating himself. After all, introductions were relatively universal. “I am Mathias Moreno. Despite these… strange circumstances, I am glad to make all of your acquaintances.” He didn’t make a point of reminding the Old Uncle they had met before – the man had been a bit off in the sense that it was the way he seemed to be. A way that suggested it was just as likely he’d forgotten ever traipsing around Lair with Mads at his heels as it was he could recall his face from memory – or name, though he couldn’t remember the man ever getting that particular bit of information about him correct even once.

“N-Nicodemo Vilar.”

“Mister Vilar-“

“Nico. Nico is fine.”

“Nico,” He moved calmly, confidently, as he always did, across the room to stand beside the other man as the group broke into small conversations. “Are you familiar with Amadeus Levante at all?”

“W-who?”

Mads shook his head. He hadn’t singled out the nervous man because he seemed to be the most knowledgeable. “It is nothing to worry about.” The woman had left weapons to only the foreigner and the Old Uncle – which either meant the others were like him and relatively worthless with anything more taxing than a small knife or the woman merely arbitrarily fetched two random weapons. The latter was, unfortunately, seeming to be the most likely.

Nico continued to glance around the room, not so much taking stock of it as looking for an apparent exit. He stopped when he noticed the tendrils peeking in through the stony ceiling, electing instead to focus his wide eyes on Mads’ face as if he might absorb even the smallest fraction of the other man’s composure. “Then… what should I be w-worried about?”

“Getting out of this crypt. And… not dying, I suppose.”

Confused, Nico frowned, voice raising a few more octaves into a whisper. “Dying?”

“She did say there were traps, Nico.” He gathered up two of the candles – or, rather, a candle and a half. There were approximately twelve if you count the shorter, stubbier tube of wax and wick. “Here.”

He handed Nico the larger candle, earning a soft though distant smile before he settled once more into anxious worry. “I don’t… I don’t know anything about traps. I’m just a- I just work in Plenty. I… I till, Mathias, I don’t…”

Without drawing too much attention to them, Mads calmly gestured toward the other two people in the room he was acquainted with. “The dark-skinned foreigner cannot speak even the slightest amount of Vahanic. The Old Uncle? I believe he is a… mortician of some sort. Either that or a jester, I am… unclear on what it is he actually does.”

Nico’s expression remained concerned, and Mads tried for a more comforting smile; though, as it didn’t reach his eyes, it resulted in something a little colder than he intended. “The point I am trying to make is you are not alone in being unqualified for… whatever this is supposed to be.” As an aside, he added a quieter, contemplative, “If this is even supposed to be anything at all.”

“So you-“

“We, Nico.”

“We… we’re going to find the… the ball she wants?”

Mads raised a brow. “Oh no. We are going to find a way out. I do not find it particularly entertaining to gallivant about a trap infested, ancient mausoleum in search of a mysterious artefact at the best of a… a pixie. Or whatever that creature was.”

“She was just a woman.”

“A woman with… a bizarre talent for transporting people and things without magic.”

“You don’t think she-“

“Oh no, Nico. I know she did not access any of the known domains. Or unknown to me, for that matter.” He shook his head, blond curls just barely bouncing at the motion. “Whoever – or whatever – she is, I do not think it is something you or I – or they – should get involved with.”

“She did say there would be a reward.” It seemed some of the calm had begun to rub off on him.

“And fisherman bait their hooks and promise food to the fish they plan on deboning and searing over hot coals.” Nico’s eyes widened again. Good. “There were voices coming from down there.” He gestured to the left. “And… something from over there.” The right received an even more disinterested wave of his hand. “If there are others, perhaps they entered the… less mysterious way.”

Nico swallowed, the motion of his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down made it almost audible to the eyes. “Or maybe they’re here to hunt us.”

“Excuse me?”

“Just… worried about dying, that’s all.”

“You… raise a valid point. Perhaps it is better to brave the unknown.” Turning to the others, Mads politely cleared his throat to garner the attention of those not entirely engaged in their own discussions. “Does anyone, by chance, have a way of lighting these?” He held his stubby candle aloft.
Moderator’s Note: If someone does provide the light, Mads and Nico will carefully start down the Eastern Hall, doing what they can to watch for traps, though Mads will be somewhat distracted by both examining his vial and considering the various potential uses it might provide. Unless asked a direct question by one of the other people in the room, he’ll assume questions aren’t directed toward him and will ignore them.
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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

Bartholomew Strife could think of a few places he had woken up in that reminded him of this dark and dreary place. The alley way behind the Lust's Fallacy after a long night of carousing. The back room of Master Ignacious' makeshift morturary. His mother's stern hand for the first two decades of his life. All in some form or fashion sparked recognition in the Necromancer, but after a quick glance he verified that this resting spot were not any of the aforementioned locales. And for that, Bartholomew was glad; he didn't really want to deal with his mother so early in the morning. In fact, in his vehement denial of the possibility, he could hear her stern voice shouting at him to get up and start the trial.

A second glance verified that it was, instead, was a younger woman with a wild mane of red hair and a pretty face. Bartholomew perked up with that new tidbit of information, matching the attentiveness of little Strife between his outstretched legs. A case of the rigor mortis, the Necromancer thought to himself, giggling in a way not unlike the pretty woman standing among the still-groggy sleepers surrounding her. Beside him, a woman with wire-rimmed spectacles and stringy gray hair gagged as she glanced in Strife's direction. "For the love of the Wounded God, man, put that shrimp away!" She muttered, unfazed by the strange situation they all found themselves in. "No one ordered seafood."

Much of the red-haired woman's instructions were lost to Bartholomew as he focused his full attention on staring daggers at the back of the witch who had so offended Strife junior just now. How dare she insult a man who obviously had shown no interest in her, lustfully or otherwise? She could've minded her own business, but instead she had called the room's attention to his morning Creep. Bartholomew thought murderous thoughts at one point and was pleased to note his mace, Murderous Thoughts appear almost immediately after. He snatched it up but didn't get a chance to use it before his hand was stayed by by the abrupt departure of the beautiful woman. The only thing he had heard was the instruction to call her if she was needed.

Oh, if she only knew how badly Bartholomew Strife needed her.

It was only then that he noted the vial in his off-hand as the six individuals feel quiet in the trills after the woman's departure. Shrugging, he glanced at the only familiar face in the room. Or should he say familiar ears? "So where are we?" Bartholomew finally asked, breaking the tense silence. In his limited, theoretical experience with hostage situations the first thing to do was determine one's location.

That same woman spoke up again, her voice high and nasally. "She just told us we were in a Crypt!" she shouted shrilly. Bartholomew could hear her voice breaking like she was in fear of something. Most likely, her fear was of Strife himself, and the Necromancer thought that was well deserving. Not many people could insult him like she had and feel good about themselves by the end of the trial.

Pity was, as Master Ignacious had kindly told Bartholomew once, was his best weapon. Whatever that meant.

"Well I'm glad that's been settled then," Bartholomew replied, smiling at the woman. It was, Strife hoped, a feral and intimidating gesture. The Necromancer made no effort to continue the conversation with the woman any longer, so he settled for a quick circuit of the room. He noted the candles in the shadow of the doorway, but between his mace and the vial, he couldn't hope to carry them as well. "Woman, I only have two hands and both of them are full. Carry these," Strife ordered, gesturing to the clump of four at his foot. It was obvious that the Necromancer did not apply his own mathematical logic to his companion. Like the good leader that he was, Strife did not look over his shoulder to check if the woman followed his command, trusting that she would.

Master Ears spoke up shortly after his bout of managing, waving his own set of candles about seeking help in lighting them. Bartholomew shook his head in frustration; had the man even been listening to the beautiful maiden earlier? "My love," Strife shouted into the empty air, "would you mind returning and lighting these candles for us? It seems my former assistant was no match for them." Bartholomew giggled again at his beautiful quip.

Once the issue of the candles had been settled one way or another, Bartholomew turned to make a start down the western Hall in pursuit of the faint voices. Still unaware of the dangers and threats looming ahead, the choice made without much thought. The Necromancer only hoped the beady woman would choose to follow him so he could deal with her insolence before the end of the trial.


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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

Image



Signing
"Signing while speaking"
"Speaking"

The startle he awoke to was immediate and harsh.

As if it were enticed.

Commanded.

The series of surprises came in flashes, firstly. The realization that he was not in the location in which he fell asleep came first. He was not in the Enclave, and his back ached and wished for the bed on which he fell asleep. Second, that he wasn't alone. Very much not alone.

Quickly, he scanned the room, glancing over the faces of those who, seemingly, were placed in precisely the same situation as he. Strangers, shocked and confused, the lot of the-

Oh. Perhaps not all of them were strangers.

Hello Mads.

Lastly, was the realization that his awakening was made reality by the command of a woman whose volume made her immediately stand apart from the rest of the crowd. But, much more alarming than her volume, was the fact that the words she spoke made sense to Quiet. They were, perhaps, the first that were completely clear to him.

"Get up, you lazy bums!" she yelled.

He knew, in his heart of hearts, that he didn't know what the word 'bum' was before she spoke it. But as soon as that syllable left her lips, he knew that he was a bum. When she spoke, concepts of her words were imprinted on him. He didn't need to think like he did when he spoke Common; compartmentalized, speaking word by word, translating his thoughts. Comprehending her words was effortless and true.

And it immediately got his attention.

She began pacing the room.

"I’m sure you’re wondering why you’re all here instead of back at home! Well, you see, I’ve gathered you all together, because you’re the best of the best, the finest of the fine."

It was then that Quiet understood the concept of a joke.

"“You’re all aware that there are plenty of old ruins around here, and one of them in particular has something that I really really really really want! It’s an orb, about this big.” She showed with her hands. "If you can bring it to me, I’ll reward you handsomely. I even brought these along to help you with navigating the ruins.” She said, as a small, glass container appeared, and a moment later it was in Quiet's hand, although he had no recollection of retrieving it. "I should hope that’s all you need to get you going. Basic objective, check. Some equipment, check…” She nodded, and Quiet's quarterstaff appeared in his closed fist. He had to remember to thank her. "Oh! Right! The Crypt of Amadeus Levante – that’s where we are- is renowned for its traps, so maybe watch where you s-" She giggled. "Step. Have fun! Call me if you need me!”

And with that, the woman was gone.

Immediately, Quiet noticed a young boy, around the age of fifteen, directly next to him. Eyes wide, excitement evident. He turned to Quiet, speaking too fast for him to understand, even if Quiet spoke Vahanic. "Eu fiz isso! Ela chegou! Ela veio mesmo! Ela estava aqui, bem na minha frente!" He exclaimed, jumping up and down, his... Considerable... Size reacting with every exaggerated movement. His expression soured. "Me dê isso!" He demanded, snatching the vial from Quiet's hand. "Um presente da mãe do caos..." He turned to Quiet. "Eu preciso trazer a ela esse orbe. E você tem uma arma. Você vai me ajudar."

The boy ran, vial in hand, to the set of candles, picking out four and hoarding all of them for himself.

The boy nodded at Quiet. "Venha!" He commanded, running for the doorway. "Na verdade, você vai primeiro." He said, allowing Quiet to step in front of him. He held a candle out to Quiet, wordlessly shaking it at him. Quiet, in response, raised his hand slightly in the air, and as he did so, a small flame ignited on the candle's wick.

Mads and the others were held up at the door, their candles requiring lighting. As Quiet walked by, he gifted their wicks the same blessing he had gifted the boy's with, nodded at Mads as a curt greeting, and began walking down the Eastern Hall.

He couldn't begin to comprehend the power of that stranger, and her aura hinted at the same divinity as The Gift itself.

He had decided it was much easier not to get on her bad side.
Last edited by Quiet on Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 763
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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)




There was a sense of resonating energy which seemed to creep throughout the establishment around them, of a power born of an immense age. Perhaps it was not palpable in the natural nor magical sense, but there was a sort of achievement brought forth by such ancient confines, and, regardless of the antics that arose in its unbroken halls, it would always remain. As the group went about the process of dividing candles among themselves, there arose a clear and evident issue. There had been no torch nor lit candle to provide light among the ragtag band, and while some were clearly content simply to wait for a solution to arise, others were somewhat more proactive.

Perhaps it was the ever capricious bond of madness that had drawn Bartholomew Strife to open his mouth, and utter forth the words that he did, to summon anew the presence of the chaotic and strange being who had already graced them with a mission. Regardless of his intentions, the very instant that his mouth had opened in calling out to her, the instant that his voice rattled around inside of the solemn sanctum, the Creep vine overhead began to fidget and twitch and shake. It did not make any motion towards the group, nor did it seem particularly hostile in itself, but instead it behaved as if though it had been infected with some unnatural parasite, as if though something had been implanted within its flesh, and that entity was now crawling about the fleshy host.

Then, like a pus-filled pustule, the vein of Creep burst forth in a brief shower of floral gore. Strips and shards of plant-matter were scattered underneath of the thing, and the cause for the strange movement within was revealed. It was a small spherical item, perhaps only the size of a man’s hand when it had clenched, and attached to it was a wick which jutted out nearly three feet in length. At the very end of such a wick was a steadily moving spark, like those found when someone was attempting to fire a cannon.

Accompanying the newly born contraption was the faint echoes of laughter down the hallways, stretching out from all sides before ceasing in entirety. Alternative methods were, naturally, provided by the Defier in their midst, and through a combination of his own efforts and those provided by the Immortal who had provided what was certainly not a dangerous device, everyone who desired to have their candles lit was able.

Mads and his compatriot Nico were promptly joined by Quiet and his own youthful companion as they proceeded down the Eastern Hallway. The hallway was notably rather cramped and it was particularly difficult to perceive any minor details along the passageway, perhaps due to the cracked and jaded architecture which now remained. At certain points in the long hallway, they group was forced to walk in a single-file line, though, notably, there was little in the way of deterrent. Perhaps there were not any traps in this segment of the Crypt… or perhaps there were, and they simply hadn’t seen them yet. Perhaps they may have been assisted in their observations if Mads had been more acutely focused on the passage as opposed to the vial in his hand, but he did manage to observe that the vial itself would occasionally shift colors, the intervals between changes notably random.

Their minds would be put to some modicum of ease when they entered into a rather large room, filled with what appeared to be bookshelves. Each of the bookshelves was dirty and exceptionally old, and the room was covered in easily seen dust which floated freely throughout. There was the scitter-scamper of rodents fleeing as the group made their way into the room, amidst the rows upon rows of books. Along the Southern wall appeared to be a rather extravagant gate, the visage of some archaic gargoyle carved into its mantle, forever watching over the passageway. Yet, any closer examinations would reveal that there were no locks available to open the shut gate. There was, of course, another rather open passageway along the Northern section of the room, though this led onwards into a rather pitch blackness, the likes of which had not even been seen in the previous hallway.

Elsewhere, Bartholomew Strife and his irritating companion made their way down the Western hallway, deciding that it was pertinent to find the whispering voices of fellow mortals, and, they would quickly find that they were not to be disappointed… at least not entirely. The room at the end of the Western passageway was dimly lit, but lit nonetheless by the crimson glow of Bloodlights… and something far more sinister in its center.

What had once been some exotic room, its floorboards made of fine oak – an utter rarity in Quacia – was now covered in a strange fungal mass which covered the floor. There were signs of Creep stretched across it, of course, but clearly something had begun to affect it, for it was a ruddy color, unnatural for the foliage that dominated the landscape. In the very center of the room lay a pulsating mass of fleshy substance, it oozed a cerulean color, bleeding out of a hole in the center, leaking down its sides and into the ruddy mess below.

The voices had ceased the instant that the pair had made their entrance, but now Bartholomew could see persons hidden away into the crevices of the room, their eyes strangely glowing in the same color as the cerulean liquid at the center. They seemed frightened, and afraid, but not of the Creep which surrounded them, nor of the entity at its center. Instead, they were fearful of the two who had intruded into their abode, their hands clutching at whatever implements they could find for fear that they may be assailed.

There, off in one of the corners of the room was a rather vibrant and crimson colored mirror, its glass having managed to remain unshattered throughout the entirety of its existence, truly a remarkable feat for a place so utterly annihilated by the ruining effects of time. Those who were fearful seemed to flock towards it whenever possible, as though they sought to protect the mirror, or perhaps… to seek its protection. Opposite of the mirror was an additional passageway, this one somewhat more spacious than the previous hallway, albeit, notably covered in vine-growth.



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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

M
athias nearly ran into one of the ancient shelves, fixated as he was on the vial in his hand. Thus far it had shifted from violet to crimson to gold to silver and back to purple. Each shift had happened at a different time than the last, and he wanted to verify if-

Mossy green.

With a sigh carefully expelled through his nose, he glanced up at his surroundings, only just realizing they had since exited the hallway and now stood within a much larger room – though it still felt relatively cramped thanks to the many shelves of books that-

“Is that wood?” He didn’t speak to anyone in particular. Raised by a woman who had a taste for the finer things in life, it was difficult to see anything rare or precious or valuable and not appreciate it for what it was. Tucking the vial into one of his pockets, he approached the shelves directly, using the hem of his sleeve to brush away the thick coat of dust and examine the grain below. He didn’t know much about wood, but it was clear the shelves had, in their prime, been quite beautiful before rot and grime and time had had their way with them.

Nico, however, was not nearly so fascinated with old relics from Quacia’s age of glory. He seemed far more preoccupied with the gate, inspecting every inch of it with mounting exasperation. He turned to speak with Mathias, but he’d already disappeared into the stacks, his flickering candle the only indication that he still remained within the room. In a hoarse whisper, Nico tried to get his attention, “Ey, Mathias. Mathias.”

Glancing up from an aged tome written in an astonishingly formal style of Vahanic, Mathias blinked in the general direction of the interruption. “What?” Calm, casual, and unhindered, his voice carried easily through the room, only somewhat muffled by the many books and hardwood that still held their ground against the inevitable onset of decay.

“Do you think- where are you?”

“Do I think what, Nico?” Though he carried on the conversation from across the room, his attention returned to the book in his hands. Graciana had gathered quite a sizeable collection of her own, both from purchases and scavenging them from old ruins, yet he’d never seen anything quite like what he held now. While he still intended to find his way out, he wasn’t one to pass over opportunities to sate his ravenous curiosity.

Nervousness had a strange habit of taking a backseat to irritation, and Nico was no exception to the odd phenomenon. “Do you think we’re gonna’ get out of here or what?” There was the breathy quality of a sigh mixed with a mounting impatience. It was clear to any who heard he wanted to leave and had followed Mathias precisely for that reason.

“As long as we abstain from any unnecessary foolishness and keep ourselves alive, it seems likely we will, eventually, find a way out, yes.” He skimmed through his book, taking note of details and facts and figures and anything that seemed a particular oddity before he set it back upon the shelve and drew out another, carefully brushing away the brunt of the dust.

Gripping the metal bars and giving them a good, useless shake, Nico puffed out an annoyed “urgh”. “Are you gonna help me look?”

“There are two other people here, Nico.” Focused as he was on the books, now on his forth, Mathias didn’t put much effort into monitoring his own tone, leaving it flat and disinterested as was his natural state of speech. “Ask one of them.” Though the vague sense of urgency had not left the corners of his mind, Mathias’ investigation was not entirely tangential. Within the books, somewhere, he assumed there would be relevant information – perhaps a history of the Levantes or, better, a map of the estate ferreted away somewhere within the musty, moth-eaten covers and faded inks.

“Fat lot of help you are,” Nico muttered, turning from the gate to face the other two. “Either of you got any-“ He stopped, frowning, remembering something Mathias had said and instead turned to the boy. “Do you have any ideas on how to get this thing open?”

“Keep in mind,” Mathias added, selecting another book and flipping through its pages, stopping where something caught his eye to skim before moving on. “It seems the boy wants to be here.” He’d also mention the ‘mother of chaos’ – hardly a reassuring moniker if it were indeed one of the names the little fairy woman was truly called.

“Is that- do you know what’s going on?” Some of the fear returned to Nico’s now lowered voice. “Do you know who that woman was? Why we’re actually here?”
Moderator's Note: Unless otherwise interrupted, Mads will continue reading books, even if he discovers information about where they are or what's going on. Nico will refuse to go any further, convinced that the gate is the way out.
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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)


The Elder Strife had hoped his request for aid from the wild-haired woman would have included a physical reappearance, but alas, he was left with his mental image of her to warm heart and loin here in this dark crypt. And a spherical orb with a long, burning wick attached to it, of course; that too was convenient. Though Bartholomew might have saved his request had he known the quiet lad could snap his fingers and light the candles. Still, the man thought with a shrug, there was always the next room. Reaching out with his left hand to grab the gift and light the pair of candles in his companion's hand

Then, bolstered by the feminine laughter echoing through the crypt, Bartholomew headed down the western passageway, alone save for the obnoxious woman with the beady spectacles.

The next open space the pair came across was quite unlike anything Strife had experienced in his five decades on Idalos. Granted, he hadn't ever experienced a healthy relationship either, so that wasn't saying much at all. Still, even he didn't know what to make of the room and its ornamentation. Wood and fungal carpets? The interior designer within him was repulsed by the choice. The Necromancer had to admit, however, that the blue was a nice contrast to the reds in the room.

"Really matches your eyes," Bartholomew said to the figures in the room, not really directing the comment to any one of them in particular. It was probably a jarring comment to make given the tension in the room. Not that Strife noticed it, of course. He was too busy observing the rest of the room. Besides the mirror in the corner and the vine obstruction on the northern passageway--an interesting choice, he thought--there wasn't much else in the space.

"I don't like the look of this place," the woman behind Strife said, holding the candles close to her chest as if they would protect her."

"Well some people have to make do with what they have, woman, so best not to judge them." Bartholomew responded, taking a step into the room. "You'd know that if you weren't so terrible." The irony of those two statements was lost on the Necromancer, but he did not miss its absence. Gesturing towards the mirror with his mace, a move that no doubt could be taken as threatening, Strife added, "Check that mirror out while I get rid of these vines blocking the doorway. If nothing else, you'll be able to see that those glasses are doing you no favors. And best to not step in the blue if you could help it."

After this, Bartholomew skirted the edge of the room to check out the overgrown passageway. While he walked, he spoke again for the benefit to all in the room. "We mean no harm to you or your decor. Just passing through, won't be long." Strife had no idea if the people could understand him, but he figured it was best not to worry quite yet. If it got hairy, he could just ask for more help.

Yes, he would like that.
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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

Image



Signing
"Signing while speaking"
"Speaking"

"No," the boy said, smiling. "If you don't already know what's happening here, why we're in this Crypt, then it is not my job to inform you. You will be learned. As we all will be."

Quiet had not shared the same fondness for the room as Mads had. He wasn't sure, precisely, what the purpose of this room was. He hadn't seen anything like it before, and the object Mads held in his hands seemed trivial at best. Perhaps it was simply a matter of separate interests, but Quiet was much more focused on appeasing the being of intense unexplained capabilities than investigation.

Although, Quiet thought, remembering the words that the woman had said, this place would have its fair share of tricks. Judging from the explosive that the old man had summoned, it didn't seem as if anything in this crypt would be strictly beneficial to Quiet's health and well being.

The gate, for instance, locked from the outside with the visage of a monster carved in stone plastered on it. Quiet doubted that the gate's purpose was to keep those in the library out of whatever was on the other side. He saw that gate, and his immediate instinct was to allow whatever remained inside that gate trapped.

He noted the exit drenched in darkness. Having no vested interest in the books, and definitely no interest in the gate, Quiet walked towards it, offering Mads a short "Going North, don't open gate. Maybe bad thing inside," before continuing on his way.

The boy at his side, seemingly having learned that Quiet and Vahanic were strangers to one another, had by and large stopped speaking. He followed Quiet as Quiet strode to the precipice of that darkness. The boy had attempted to continue walking, but would find himself halted by Quiet, placing his quarterstaff protectively in front of his feet. Quiet summoned a part of the flame from the lit candle, enlarging the flame so that, when held in open air, its light would reveal all four corners of the hallway. Supporting it with the air around them, Quiet sent the fireball down the hallway, held at the same position, watching as the features of the hallway became illuminated, searching for the aforementioned traps.

He would prefer if there were a tripwire somewhere in that hallway that it remained untriggered.

NOTE: If Quiet detects that there are no threats in the hallway after lighting it up, he will proceed down it. If he detects any traps, he will be wary of them, watching for them with the still-lit candle his companion holds, attempting to pass them without triggering them.
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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)



Bartholomew
Knives glinted like the teeth of tigers in the darkness, the hissing rasp suddenly sounding out as the pair of interlopers went about the process of investigating the room. The silence that had seemingly captivated those present now dissipated, and whispered conspiratorial sounds flashed into existence as all gathered paid rapt attention to their uninvited guests. When Bartholomew raised his mace, directing it towards the mirror, the whispers suddenly became rapturous, the buzzing of irritated social-insects, the anger of a hive of humanoids.

Between the gnashing of teeth, and the sudden explosive force which wrought its way through the group who now surged free from the confines of the walls were voices, shrieking among the throng of bestial sound to reach the ears of the intruders.
“They do not see, but they threaten!”
“They cannot see, but they will.”
“They must see.”
“Kill them if they do not see.”


It was an unfortunate misstep that Strife had separated himself from his female compatriot, regardless of their inherent disdain for one another, because it meant that they were very quickly surrounded without any plea of support. Those with the most colorful eyes, whose glow was so harshly present that one must surely wonder how they were capable of sight at all drew especially close to the pair, their hands dancing around knives and shoddy makeshift weapons. “Drink of it, and be free.” They whispered, their teeth chattering in excited veneration of the substance in the center of the room.

“Drink or die.” They uttered, shoving and pushing, encroaching on the personal space of the two. None of them seemed particularly bulky, but they were numerous, at least a dozen in number, and each with that fanatic anger and devotion that only comes from a truly demented state. On and on, without rhyme nor reason, they would press the pair closer towards the center of the room, and the cerulean liquid which bubbled forth from it.


Mads
It was clearly evident that while the wooden shelves which made up such a grand portion of the room had begun to deteriorate in the lengthy time-span between their implementation and the modern era, the books which now sat upon them had been majestically preserved, at least, the majority of them. There was, of course, still a rather large clump of dust and dirt and other fragments of age scattered around them, but clearly the books had been created with the idea of lasting in mind, and had been prepared in such a fashion that they had managed to neglect a great deal of the wear-and-tear that often affected ancient items.

Many of the books had been labeled to showcase their particular topics. Some were fairly generic in their information, and likely not altogether fascinating to peruse: “The History of Quacia”, “The Trader’s Guide to Profit”, and even the long-lasting book of “Foreign Games and Stories.” Yet, not all of the books had been marked in so evident a fashion, and as Mads began to peruse through them, he would discover fascinating snippets of information, particularly when he stumbled upon an unmarked, hand-written journal.

It was clear that no proper scribe had ever taken quill to paper throughout the length of the documentation, but it was knowledge nonetheless, regardless of how shoddy the penmanship was in its many pages. A brief analysis would reveal that it had likely been written by Levante, or at the very least one of his associates, because he was mentioned hither and thither along with several others. They spoke of having made a discovery native to the local landscape, of how they had managed to observe the clashing of something utterly cosmic in nature, and while a few of the more extravagant theories had been displayed, they were all far too ludicrous to be at all sensible, something Levante himself later commented upon.

Several dozen pages into the Journal was a long and emboldened title with the word, “Contact.”

Elaboration was revealed as Levante spoke of having finally managed to commune with entities which he called the “Others.” He wrote of how he had managed to interact with them in their own world, and how they had seemed at least fairly amicable. Later conversations with them had revealed that they were at odds with an entity which they called “It Which Knows All.” The nature of this conflict was not revealed in entirety, but further speculation covered the pages.

Details were admittedly shoddy throughout the Journal, likely due to the fact that it had been written solely to keep a brief record of the research being undergone by Levante and his associate researchers and professors. Nevertheless, the final pages of the short tale spoke of how Levante had been put in charge of hiding away the “Key”, and that he had requested the presence of one of the “Others” in defending it. At the bottom of the page, a single word written in stark crimson:

“Alabast.”

Quiet
It was admittedly somewhat unnerving the way that the gargoyle placed above the stone gate seemed to always keep its eyes on those looking towards it. Certain paintings had been designed with such a quality, but it was far more unusual to find such a quality embedded into motionless and lifeless stone, even that which had been hewn into the features of a living entity. Perhaps it was this particular feature which had stricken the young man with such fear of what may lay beyond the door, or perhaps it was the absence of locking mechanisms, though, surely the door could be opened somehow.

The man approached the pitch blackness, the shadowy precipice of the doorway not altogether dissimilar to the depths of an ocean, seeming to almost shiver in the same manner as the imperceptible sea floor. It was little effort for him to draw the fire to heed his call, and even less effort to hurtle the minor ball of flame down the length of the hallway. A pair of vines hanging from the ceiling were ignited, beginning to burn with the honeyed scent of Creep as the fireball passed, and in the process, the room was illuminated for a brief instance.

Had that been a face at the far end of the hall? It had certainly been a dead-end, for the splash of the ball had impacted against stone, but there had been something present there now covered once more by the darkness. There was no sound of motion emanating from the shadow, and Quiet didn’t believe that he could feel anything which seemed entirely like a trigger below his feet, though the aged and somewhat broken nature of the stone beneath his feet made that feat somewhat more difficult than he might have expected.

The boy-companion of his raised his candle, stepping forward slightly in pursuit of the foreigner, and lighting up the strange entity at the end of the hallway. It was quickly revealed to be another gargoyle, although this one was missing its body, and instead consisted entirely of a head. Its maw was open wide, leading into some dark and unknown pit on the other side of the wall, almost curled into a sadistic grin, fangs bared. Above the gargoyle was a phrase: “The Essence of Transaction.”

It didn’t take a great deal of measurement to realize that one’s arm could fit almost up to the pit inside of the hole, and there was certainly no telling how deep it went, or what was on the other side. Any attempts at igniting the blackness revealed simply a further shroud, as though there was an unnatural fog on the other side preventing perception. The shuffle of what might have been rats, and what might have been something far more sinister skittered audibly.

With his Defiance and the ability to sense creation around him, Quiet could discern that the gargoyle would do… something whenever it had been triggered, and he was at least fairly confident that the triggering process was linked to the presence of something in its mouth, but what it accomplished was shrouded, too articulate and complex a mechanism to determine with his shoddy understanding of architecture and mechanics.





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Re: The Crypt of Amadeus Levante (Kata 718 Event)

N
ico let out a frustrated sigh, eyes rolling their sockets. “Does nobody wanna get out of here, or…?” The silence was his reply, and he leaned against the gate in aggravation that quickly melted into a softer anxiety. “That kid sounded pretty ominous.” He kept his voice much lower than before; though the room had not revealed to be hiding any other living entities, it didn’t make it any more comfortable to speak much above a hushed tone, especially without the added bravery of the hotter emotions.

“Did he?” Mathias nodded, gaze fixed on a particularly interesting journal in his hands. “Perhaps he is one of the pixie’s agents, then.” It didn’t seem too farfetched – after all, the entire situation was ludicrous. He’d never seen anyone with the abilities to do what the little woman had done, and there had been something distinctly off about her; something inhuman.

“Y-you think so?”

“Merely supposition, Nico. At this point,” he turned the page, speaking into it rather than making much of an effort to allow his voice to weave through the shelves to better meet his companion’s ears. “Most anything seems possible, if not plausible.” They’d been transported without any sort of disturbance; items had appeared out of nowhere; they were in the surprisingly well-kept remains of castle or manor no one – save, maybe, the boy – had any prior knowledge of. Alone, each event was hardly common. Smashed together and topped with a crimson ribbon of enigmatic laughter, it was beyond the realm of natural expectations.

They were in uncharted territory, as far as Mathias understood it, which let him with shaky assumptions at the very best.

“Anything? Y’think maybe… we could still be dreaming?”

“It is a potential explanation for…” There it was again: the “Others”. He lost his train of thought, eyes squinting to make out the uneven scrawl.

“For?”

“…for what we have seen thus far, yes.” Glancing up from the journal, Mathis stared in the direction Nico’s voice had been coming from. “Nico?”

Immediately Nico’s tone brightened with hope. “What is it?”

“I am going to stop talking now. Please excuse me.”

There was a pause, during which Nico shrugged and looked almost longingly at the retreating light that had headed down the northern hallway, before he managed a tight, “Okay.”

Save for the clinking, rapping, and tapping that soon began to drift through the stale, empty air of the library as Nico continued to try to find a way to open the lockless gate – making sure to avert his eyes from the uncomfortably life-like gargoyle that rested atop it – Mathias found himself much better able to think in the relative quiet.

Though the passages were little more than a collection of notes – perhaps even those of multiple people, if the shifts in handwriting were not intentional –, they were surprisingly informative, even if the Vahanic was a bit more advanced than he was used to reading.

It seemed Amadeus Levante had been a professor of a sort – a man of knowledge, like the ancient scholars of the Golden Age. He had not been alone in his research – at least four others had contributed to the journal itself, and many many others were suggested by the mundane detailing of who was doing what and where and when. The first hook that snagged his attention had been mention of “the event”. The words had been repeated enough throughout the pages of the journal after its first appearance – enough to warrant a closer analysis.
…and it was there. All of it - most of it. It was incredible as if the stars themselves had opened and poured out their precious blood straight onto the- I diverge. What we saw, this event – The Event – is something beyond mortal understanding. Yes, for now. For now, it is beyond us, but once something like this, like The Event, has been seen it burns itself into the very fabric of the soul. What is possible. What is real. It astounds me – us, all of us – to think, to wonder. And we will. We will wonder – and wander – until we know. There was…
The passages continued in the same rapturous gospel, but there was no real detailing of The Event itself as if inking it into the pages of the journal might somehow lessen their shared experience. One particular passage stood out to him. It was a theory – or, perhaps a more suitable term was “guess” – as to what the repercussion of The Event might be. Most of the entry, which went on for a page and a half of tightly crammed, spiderlike handwriting, was legible but incomprehensible, yet near the end, he found his attention fixed and mind mulling over the words.
They say, you know, nature is life. It is alive. And it is so, such, and very. Grass grows. Flowers bloom. Vines crawl. But this… this is more than that. Is it consciousness? Is it sentience? Where they clashed there now is something more. Something greater. Something… divine? But no, not divine. Not entirely, not the way I think of it. Not the way they think of it. It’s more, more and more and more, and I find myself hungry – no, ravenous – no, starving to know what it is. What is it? A creature? A spirit? And entity beyond…
He couldn’t make sense of the rest. It simply devolved into a complicated theory of time and the space that time occupied and how time might find its way to doors and shortcuts between them. Most of the entries about The Event were similar – seemingly lucid ideas filled with nonsense and prose and a general sense of… urgency – or maybe it was excitement. It was difficult to know from the writing alone.

Contact.
I have done it. We, really, but it was I who finally spoke with one of Them. One of the Others. I write the word “speak”, but that is not entirely correct. Not yet – or, rather, not at first. It was… contact. Contact with Them, but not with my voice or my mind but something else. I understood Them; They understood me.

We found Them. Or… as I write this now, maybe They found us. I cannot say, one way or another, but what I can? Incredible. They are unbelievable – not anything like what we imagined. Johann genuinely wept – I tell you he was so fearful They would be angry when I went to Visit. Yet, They were gentle. Kind, in the sense that They allowed me there, in Their presence. Equals? Maybe. It is too early to say.
From what he could tell, the “Others” did not seem to be gods – not like the Wounded God or the heretics’ myriad of petty creatures of whim and whimsy. Their title was aptly chosen: something other, something… else. Whatever they were, they were powerful – powerful enough that the author, no matter whether it was the forward slant or the jagged scrawl, never went into any real detail about them, other than expressing a general sense of awe – very nearly worship.

They possessed their own world, their own “reality”, wherein Levante – or whoever – had met with them – one of them? multitudes of them? the journal wasn’t clear. As far as the authors were concerned, the “Others” had sought a relationship with them. To what end, each had their own theories, but the most lucid presented more so the relationship itself and the details of its culmination.
To hear Them speak… I never imagined what it would be like; what it felt like, and I cannot detail it. Not now, not ever. But I can recount what it was They said, and impress upon these pages just how chilling it was to know that even They were not entities without strife.

They call it “It Which Knows All”. They have a word for it, but as has been discussed, our attempts to transcribe Their language – no, their unique form of communication – has proved all but impossible. This… entity opposes the Others, though in what way I do not know. My comrades all have their own ideas, their own theories. Amadeus believes They are enemies; Johann imagines the Others as Its children. I? I do not know, and I do not believe I can know.

What I do know? The Others are alone in Their struggle. I want to help Them.
Ominous though it was, had the journal itself not held such gravity in the manner in which it was written, Mathias might have mistaken it for a book of fantasy. The following pages contained more speculation, more theories: how would they help, how could they help, how could the Others help them, where was Their world – it seemed that though they could travel there, they didn’t understand much about it –, and what exactly was It Which Knows All.

At the end of the journal, Professor Levante, presumably, wrote the last entry. It was in a far different tone than those before, and as Mads checked the entry above, he found that the journal’s contents shifted almost violently from the musings of those with minds too grand for their dreams and dreams to grand for their minds into cold paranoia.
They trust me. They said so, directly to my soul – to my heart? – and now I have… this. The Key. I must protect it, protect Them, but to protect Them, I need Them to protect me. It is more than I expected; more than any of us- no. The Key is my burden, Our burden. My mind is greater than any of theirs, I have confidence I can – and will – keep It hidden. Keep it safe. But there are those who I cannot predict. I cannot predict It Who Knows. I cannot. They cannot. So They must- they might, no I pray. I ask. I asked them to send the One to me. I do not know if they will – I hope. I believe they will, but then… nothing is ever what it seems until is and you realize you are… blind? Am I blind?

Maybe. Maybe I am, but I have the Key. Their Key. Its Key? They never told me. They do not tell me – did they ever? I do not know. I think back to when it all began, and I simply do not know. It will be kept safe because I will keep it safe. I and the One. They-

They are here. They have heard me, and now I go. Know this. This singular thing. Know it and do not forget it. Do not let it slip away, into the darkness. Into the empty- see. See it and know it.






Alabast.
He stared at the last word, the crimson ink like a fire, burning itself into his memory. Whatever it was Levante had wanted to remember, Mathias wasn’t certain it was “alabast”. There seemed, from the way the passage had been written, as if there would be more – and the shift in colour… He flipped the last page over with his thumb and examined where the worn leather cover connected with the journal’s spine.

There was no indication that anything had been torn or removed, and there were no further entries. No secret messages disguised as scratches. Nothing.

Closing the small, leather-bound book, he tied it shut and slipped it into the back pocket of his trousers. If the Key was indeed a real object and Levante had been tasked by the mysterious “Others” to keep it safe, it stood to reason that the “orb” the fiery-headed woman – and, by extension, a band of strangers she’d collected and summarily dumped into the midst of an ancient crypt – sought after was the Levante’s Key.

As he moved through the stacks, now searching for any books or journals that had no clear indication of what was bound within their contents, he mulled over what it was he’d discovered thus far. Perhaps the woman was one of the “Others”? Or, more likely, “It Who Knows All”? Neither possibly sparked within him any confidence in their situation. From what he understood the “Others” had used Levante and his comrades, and yet they still feared “It Who Knows All”.

Then there was The Event, the Key, the One, and “Alabast”, all without a frame of reference in time. He had no idea how long ago that which was detailed in the journal had taken place. While he wasn’t positive any of it had even happened within the crypt they were now in, it was an assumption he loosely considered to be more correct than not, but it only provided a greater gravity to their situation. Suddenly the concept of “traps” seemed much more pressing than it had when warned in so flippantly nonchalant a chuckle.

“Nico?” This time, to impress upon the other man his revelations, Mathias forced a soft quiver of worry into his voice, even as he continued to search for anything else that might be useful, far faster this time as he knew to avoid the titled volumes.

“What?” Having just finished shaking the gate – and managing to not budge it even in the slightest – Nico’s voice was a bit breathless. He wiped his hand over his forehead and stared into the stacks in the direction of the glow of Mathias’ candle.

“Do be careful with the gate.”

In the short silence that followed, had Mathias been paying much attention to the other man’s reaction, he might have felt the sharp prick of the daggers that spun through Nico’s gaze. “Thanks, I’ll try.”

“And Nico?”

Having decided that Mathias was not, after all, coming to help him with the damned gate, Nico took a step back from it frown uneasily at the stone sculpture that stared down at him. “What?”

“Does the word ‘alabast’ mean anything to you?” Having found no further journals – or maps, and he’d hoped he might – Mathias poked his head around one of the shelves, eyes bright and inquisitive but expression otherwise blank.

“Ala- like the rock?” Still staring up at the gargoyle, unaware of Mathias’ overdue exit from the main attraction of the library’s contents, Nico shrugged, still frowning as he shifted side to side. “I dunno. I think it’s some kind of white rock, right?”

“That would be alabaster.” Mathias corrected, strolling towards his companion to join him in studying the remarkably observant sculpture. “But I did have the same-“ He stopped for a moment, blinking three times in rapid succession before he reached out and took Nico by the elbow, pulling him backwards a few steps. “It might be best not to stand so close to it.”

“Why?” Though he asked his question with a fair amount of surprise, he didn’t protest the retreat. “What is it?”

Pursing his lips for a moment, Mathias shook his head, gaze still fixed on the creature of stone that unblinkingly returned its own in kind. “I… do not know. Something about it seems…”

“Off?”

“Off.”

Glancing down the hall towards the other pair, Nico nudged Mathias, a brief nod of his head to direct Mathias’ newly won attention. “Should we follow them, then? There’s no getting through… that.” He shot a dirty – though somewhat nervous – glance at the gargoyle and its gate.

Mathias stared down the hallway, considering the proposition. “They seem to have reached an impasse.” Rather than pursuing, he raised his voice enough that Quiet and boy would hear him in the relative silence of the crypt. Having already tested the defier and finding him lacking, he had no need to play the role of incompetence, thus his Common, though accented, was as clear and precise and his Vahanic. “Have you found anything useful? A lever to open the gate, perhaps?”

“You speak Common?” Nico’s eyes widened, and it wasn’t difficult to know where his mind was headed, even surrounded by the uncertainty of their current predicament – though if they widened in awe or rising anger, Mathias wasn’t certain and chose to nip whatever it was in the bud.

“I am as far from nobility as you are, I assure you, Nico. I merely had an… eccentric childhood.”

Hardly convinced, but well aware of the delicate state of most nobles’ sense of pride – or perhaps “narcissism” better fit – Nico chose instead to grumble out a short, “Eccentric. Sure.”
Moderator’s Note: If Quiet asks Nico and Mads to join him, they will do so. If they join them at the end of the hallway, assume Mads will translate any written Vahanic and any simple statements or commands from the boy (with the exception of anything revealing about the Crypt or Kata) but will not answer any personal questions (feel free to write Mads seeming to not understand what Quiet is saying if you'd like to do so). If not, Mads will tell Nico it’s better for them to wait in the library, and suggest they carefully search the walls and shelves for hidden levers or mechanisms, looking out for traps and being extremely wary of the floor.
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